My Google Map Blog

Archive for July, 2017

Satellite launch in satellite imagery

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.26, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

A couple of weeks ago, satellite imaging company Planet launched a flock of 48 ‘Doves’, their low cost imaging satellites. They managed to capture imagery of the launch from one of the Doves already in orbit:

Read more about it on the Planet blog.

As far as we know, this is a satellite imaging first. The key to the achievement was already having a large number of satellites in orbit which enabled them to task a suitable satellite to capture the launch. Even so, they had to tilt it in order to get the shots.

Google Earth features many planes in flight in its imagery. Simply look through historical imagery near any busy airport and you will likely find several. So why is it so hard to capture satellite launches? Put simply, because they are so rare and very fast (the above YouTube video is just 11 seconds long). The chances of a satellite being overhead and capturing an image at just the right time are close to zero unless it is planned in advance as was the case with the Dove satellite.

If you are interested in launch statistics, the website Spaceflight Now has a launch schedule which shows planned launches and we found Gunter’s Space Page which summarizes and categorizes launches. It is possible that there are also classified launches not listed on the above sites.

Satellite launches are unlikely to ever be captured in aerial imagery as aircraft will be excluded from the launch area during launches for safety reasons. Video of launches captured by drones is becoming quite common, but this is not the sort of imagery that is suitable for Google Earth.

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Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.25, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Google has recently added some fresh imagery to Google Earth. It is currently only visible in the default layer, so there will be more to see once Google updates the ‘historical imagery’ layer as well.

Volcanic Island in Alaska
Bogoslof Volcano, located in the Aleutian Islands in the northern Pacific Ocean, erupted in late May. When it was first reported we had a look in Google Earth and there was no imagery at all of the Island. Google has now added a DigitalGlobe image captured in early May before the eruption.


Bogoslof Island, May 11th, 2017.

If we are lucky, we will see images of the eruption once Google updates ‘historical imagery’. DigitalGlobe did capture imagery during and after the eruption and you can see them here. The eruption altered the island quite significantly. According to Wikipedia, Bogoslof Island first appeared in 1796, and changes over time with each eruption and subsequent erosion.

Interestingly, we can see some animals on the beaches, which are probably seals or sea lions (Wikipedia lists both as breeding on the island). They can be seen in all the DigitalGlobe imagery and didn’t even leave during the eruption.


Animals on the beaches of Bogoslof Island, probably seals or sea lions.

Fires in Russia
In late May, there were several fires in the Krasnoyarsk Krai region in Russia, destroying 80 houses. Google has added some imagery relating to the event, but unfortunately it only covers one of the fires. We were able to find a burnt out building at a timber processing facility where one of the fires is believed to have started. It would appear this particular fire did not spread to the nearby town.


Burnt building at timber facility near Gorodishche, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.

Another fire destroyed 30 houses in Strelka, which is just south of the new imagery. You can see an aerial photo of the damage in Strelka here.

To find the locations above in Google Earth, download this KML file.

The post Google Earth Imagery Update: Volcanic Island in Alaska and Fire in Russia appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Culture of Tunisia on Google Maps

by StreetViewFun.com on Jul.25, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Now you can explore the Amphitheatre of El Djem in Tunisia on Google Maps Street View. You can also view images from other places with rich culture in Tunisia such as Theatre of Carthage, Cisterns of La Malaga, Basilica of Damus al-Karita and the Baths of Antoninus (Google).
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Google introduce Outer Space View

by StreetViewFun.com on Jul.25, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Now you can visit the international space station (ISS) thanks to Google Maps Street View. This is the Cupola Observation Module. Larger
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Colorising Black and White Historical Aerial Imagery

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.24, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

We were recently contacted by Zachary Bortolot an Associate Professor in the Geographic Science Program at James Madison University. He has been developing a method of realistically colorising black and white historical aerial images. His method is automated and intelligently transfers colour from recent colour imagery of a location to historical black and white imagery of the same location. His algorithm appears to be able to handle changing landscapes although exact details as to how it does it are not given. Read more about it on his website.

You can also download some sample image overlays to view in Google Earth. Below are just small samples of the images, comparing them with Google Earth imagery. Be sure to download the overlays to explore all the imagery.

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after

Colorized aerial image, Palm Springs, California, 1972 vs Google Earth image.

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after

Colorized aerial image, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1974 vs Google Earth image.

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after

Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth image.

In the case of Washington D.C. Google Earth has an aerial image from 1949 but the colorized image is better quality.

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Colorized aerial image, Washington, D.C., 1951 vs Google Earth historical imagery 1949.

Most countries around the world have large collections of aerial imagery gathered over the years, much of which have never been digitised. It would be great to see more of this imagery in Google Earth and even better if it is colourised.

The post Colorising Black and White Historical Aerial Imagery appeared first on Google Earth Blog.

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Google Street View goes to the International Space Station

by Timothy Whitehead on Jul.21, 2017, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Yesterday Google announced on its blog that they have added views of the International Space Station (ISS) to Google Street View. The Google blog post is written by Thomas Pesquet, Astronaut at the European Space Agency (ESA), who spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) as a flight engineer. The ISS Street View is not currently available in Google Earth, so explore it here.

The ISS is in orbit around the earth and so does not have a specific location so Google has decided to place the Street View in Building 9 – Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The building houses mockups of every major pressurized module on the International Space Station. It is also not far from the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center. The Mission Control Center is the building from which flight controllers command, monitor, and plan operations for the ISS.

Interestingly, one of the mockup modules has a user contributed photosphere and we couldn’t identify the equivalent module in the new Street View. If any of our readers can tell us which it is, let us know in the comments.

The Google Blog post incorrectly states that this is the first time Street View imagery has been captured beyond planet Earth. In fact, both the Moon and Mars have had Street View for quite some time.

Another interesting comment is that this is the first time that Street View has included annotations. This is such a new feature that it is not yet working on Google’s dedicated Street View site, only in Google Maps. Let’s hope the feature comes to Google Earth too – including the ability to annotate using KML.


Annotations in Street View is a new feature.

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